Category Archives: Personal

Thanksgiving Meal Ideas {vegan}

thanksgiving meal ideasThanksgiving can be a really fun or really stressful holiday for vegans. While Thanksgiving is about family and giving thanks, 46 million turkeys are raised just to be slaughtered for this one day. Not to mention the number of undercover videos and charges of animal abuse exposing huge companies like Butterball. I try my best to have a compassionate Thanksgiving. I like having a small “Thanksliving” meal at our house that is completely vegan and cruelty-free. Last year we had a combination of a pre-made Gardein Holiday Roast and a bunch of homemade sides. I’m still debating doing another Gardein roast this year or to do stuffed seitan.

Gardein Stuffed Roast

The following recipes are all either my own recipes, or recipes I’ve tried and would recommend as part of a delicious holiday meal. Whether you are looking to put together a completely vegan spread, or are just looking to make a vegan dish for guests, all of these are guaranteedto please.

And don’t forget to adopt a turkey! This is a Thanksgiving tradition that we started doing 3 years ago. You can adopt up until Nov. 24th and chose email certificate to have it in time for Thanksgiving this year.

Main CoursesDSC_1778

Seitan -Try this one stuffed with shiitakes and leeks.

Harvest Stuffed Portobellos – I made these a few years ago for my mom for Thanksgiving, and we both loved them.

Pot Pie or Shephard’s Pie (I like making the pot pie in a large baking dish instead of ramekins and making drop biscuits for the top)

Pre-made meals like Gardein, Tofurkey, or Field Roast. (We’ve had all of the different Gardein Turk’y varieties and really like them. Just make sure you buy double whatever the serving size says on the package, ie if it says “serves 8” it’s closer to 3-4 real servings.)

Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Sides

Veggies and dip – Slice up some veggies and pair with 1 container of Tofutti Sour Cream and vegetable dip packet of your choice.

Mashed potatoes – Use your normal recipe and sub butter with non-dairy margarine and milk for almond/soy milk.

Mushroom Gravy – I usually skip the wine and just add more broth or water.

Cranberry sauce – If you’ve never had real cranberry sauce, give this super simple recipe a try.

Cranberry Sauce

Stuffing – I love stuffing, this is a great basic recipe. I like to throw in cranberries too.

Deviled potatoes – These are really good!

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

“Cheddar” Bay Biscuits

Roasted Veggies

Pumpkin and Corn Curry Soup

Mac and Cheese or this sweet potato mac and cheese

mushrooms8Stuffed Mushrooms

Green Bean Casserole – I do this super simple and roast green beans with minced garlic, onions, and loads of nutritional yeast.

Pumpkin Pie

Desserts

Pumpkin Pie – Make this! It’s simple and amazing.

Cheesecake (or these mini pumpkin cheesecakes)

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – This is one of my absolute favorites.

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

Italian Apple Cake – Another Chloe Coscarelli recipe that is out of this world.

Cranberry Orange/Pineapple Bread – Really good!

Cranberry mini loaf

What will you be eating this Thanksgiving? Do you have any family traditions that you do every year?

Core of Gratitude {Yoga Challenge} and My Thoughts on Future Challenges

Core of Gratitude Yoga Challenge
Core of Gratitude Yoga Challenge

This month’s challenge benefits Odanadi, an organization that helps rescue and rehabilitate sexually exploited and trafficked women and children. If there are 50k posts (counted by hashtags), $1000 will be donated, and if we make it to 100k posts, $2000 will be donated. The challenge itself focuses on core strength and flexibility, and as always is geared towards everyone, from complete beginners to the more advanced. There will also be three people who will win a Liforme Yoga Mat. The challenge is hosted by @beachyogagirl and @kinoyoga. Make sure you post every day, tag the hosts. and use the hashtag #coreOfGratitude.

My Thoughts on Participating in Future Yoga Challenges

At the end of last month. I was debating whether or not to continue to participate in Instagram yoga challenges. I’ve been doing them for about a year and a half now, and they’ve been incredibly helpful for kicking my butt into gear and getting more serious about yoga. Yet, I found myself not posting pictures for a few days and having to catch up, which has happened in the past when really busy or traveling, but I didn’t have that excuse this time. I still practice just about every day, but it’s kind of a pain to set up the tripod sometimes and try to get a good picture. It’s getting too cold in the sun room, which has the best light, and the living room has weird shadows depending on what time it is. Sometimes I only have half an hour in the AM or in the afternoon, so I do a quick practice, but then have to take my picture at night before bed. I’m also getting bad about posting them, I usually take a video and then check it/post it later, and sometimes I forget completely. Basically, I love to practice daily, but sometimes it feels like a chore to take a good photo and post it to social media.

I decided I wanted to participate in this month’s challenge because the number of total posts raises money for a charity. Posting a photo is a pretty easy thing to do every day and it could help someone. It’s also really encouraging to be able to look back at my photos and see what progress I’ve made, especially during challenges that work on one specific skill (the back bends, arm balances, and splits challenges all helped me make a lot of progress). The challenges force me to practice things I wouldn’t normally practice some days as well. Lately, I’ve been trying to work on the Ashtanga Primary Series, and I’ve been going slow, and only working to a certain point. I’m trying to master and internalize the practice, but that means I might not make it to handstands or Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose). The challenges force me to practice those poses anyway, which is a good thing. My last reason for wanting to continue the challenges is because they have really helped me, and I would love to inspire someone to practice.

What do you think? Do you participate in social media yoga challenges?

Related Links:

October Yoga Challenge – October Yoga Spice

Bethlehem VegFest 2015

VegFest

Fall is becoming my favorite time of the year because of all the food festivals! This was my 3rd year attending the Bethlehem VegFest, and it sounds silly, but walking around all the vegan vendors and animal rights groups brings me so much joy.  This was the largest amount of people I’ve seen here, and it makes me so happy that it’s growing.

Cinnamon Snail Korean BBQ Seitan
Cinnamon Snail Korean BBQ Seitan

My absolute favorite, The Cinnamon Snail, was there and holy cow was the line long! It was totally worth it though. My mom and I both got the Korean BBQ seitan and my only regret was not taking better photos!

Cinnamon Snail Donuts
Cinnamon Snail Donuts
Cinnamon Snail Donuts
Cinnamon Snail Donuts

We got donuts to bring home and oh my goodness were they the best ever. I cut the donuts up so we could try a few. I had a Chocolate Ganache Stuffed S’mores, the apple crumb, and another one with glaze and (maybe?) candied hazelnuts. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing they were. If you ever get the chance to order food from the Cinnamon Snail….do it.

Vegan Treats
Vegan Treats

Okay, I do kind of have another regret. I didn’t want to get Vegan Treats too early because I didn’t want to carry it around and crush whatever we got, but then by the end of the day the line was loooonnnnggg so we just stuck with the donuts from Cinnamon Snail.

Vegan Treats Line
Vegan Treats Line

At the end of the day my husband said we should’ve just picked something up early when there was no line and stuck it in the car…::facepalm::

Gangster Vegan Organics
Gangster Vegan Organics

I loved seeing all the vegan food vendors and I really wish I had the stomach capacity to eat from all of them. I went in planning to get something from Gangster Vegan Organics, but after my BBQ seitan I was stuffed.

Heavenly Hot Dogs
Heavenly Hot Dogs

My husband got a hot dog from Heavenly Hot Dogs. He said it was good, but I just about scolded him for getting a plain dog instead of one of the specialty ones. (How could you pass up a chili dog, or one with spinach, peppers, and onions??)

Crowd

My dad and husband also got ice pops from Mompops, and I would’ve gotten one but I was way too full. I had a bite of a pretzel and it was salty and buttery and basically perfect.

Herbivore Good Luck Elephant Tank
Herbivore Good Luck Elephant Tank

I got to see Compassion Co in person, and got an Herbivore Clothing Good Luck Elephant tank from The Grape Cat.

There was music, cooking demos, people speaking, yoga, wine. It was a really well put together event. I can’t wait for next year!